E-tolling could be scrapped

E-tolling may no longer be used to fund the costs of Gauteng highways.

The government is reconsidering implementing further e-tolling as a means of funding the construction of Gauteng highways in the future.

However, existing e-tolling in the province would remain.

This was according to the Sunday Independent, which reported that while e-tolling had not been completely scrapped, the Gauteng government had acknowledged the dissatisfaction of motorists.

Gauteng Transport MEC Ismail Vadi told The Sunday Independent that they were taking a “second look” at e-tolling in the province.

Vadi said that other options to fund the expansion and upgrade of road infrastructure and expand the road network were being considered.

“E-tolls still remain a valid option but there are also discussions about a provincial fuel levy or a provincial tax or shadow tolling,” he said.

However, Vadi said that government would not scrap the existing e-tolls.

“There will be no review of phase one of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project,” he said.

The announcement of e-tolling was met with fierce resistance, with anti-e-tolling organisations and opposition parties legally challenging the system and many Gauteng motorists refusing to pay for e-tolls.

Earlier this year, the South African National Roads Agency Limited conceded that it had racked up more than half a billion rand in outstanding e-tolling fees since the system was launched on 3 December 2013.

Less than 10 percent of this amount had been paid.

The agency later announced that it would extend the grace period discount for e-toll invoices for the period 3 December 2013 to 28 February 2014, until 30 June 2014.

In March 2014, the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) lodged a subsidiary complaint with the public protector against the roads agency.

This followed damning allegations of mismanagement of the Gauteng Open Road Tolling scheme made by a Kapsch employee- the Austrian company that worked with the roads to toll province’s roads.

The source claimed that there were serious design flaws in the current e-tolling system and the road agency had ignored Kapsch’s warnings of the extremely high risks involved in rolling out e-tolling nationally.

  AUTHOR
Simone Samuels

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